Sunday, October 25, 2009

Where the Road Disappears

I just checked the weather in Kauai today (October 29th) —its 83 degrees with rain. We didn't see much rain on our trip, but the day we drove to the North shore it sprinkled.

As we approached the our destination, the road narrowed, our car slushed through puddles and pot holes. We crossed a couple of one way bridges, then gradually came to a halt.

And there it was. The last beach accessible to humans. Beyond this point one would have to travel by boat, helicopter or a 15 miles foot trail through dense jungles and high precipices.

This map will show you where we were—where the road disappears. (top left)

Beyond this beach are the spectacular cliffs of the Na Pali Coast (pali means cliffs). Jurassic park was filmed here and so was King Kong. It doesn't take much imagination to feel you have stepped back in time to the dawn of civilization.

Ten years ago, when Mozart and I were here with my parents, we sailed along the cliffs in a boat. But today, Mozart and I simply enjoyed the beach.
(for more pictures of the Na Pali Coast click here.)

and the snorkeling.
I'm mesmorized by a bright blue and green Parrot Fish.

After snorkeling, a picnic lunch, and trying to photograph a hen with her chicks
I talked Mozart into something he would never do at home.

I talked him into hiking into the dense jungle and along the forbidden cliffs (just a little ways please) so we could take some pictures.

The trail was quite rocky.
"C'mon Mozart."

Just a little further.

To some great views.

Choose one to click on...and you'll feel like you're there.

Take a moment to look at the beautiful pictures of the Na Pali Coast and enjoy the handiwork of our Creator.

The next post will be about our last day on the island...spent with our Kauai a secret beach.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

On top of the Red Lava

The road carried us through the old sugar cane fields and into the rugged mountains toward Waimea Canyon. As we drove through a clump of trees, we heard a noise that seemed out of place. We slowed the car and listened. Did you see that?

Through the trees we could see a dirt biker streaking in wild abandon across the red soil Kauai-style (no helmet) in his slippers.

We drove a little further...and sure enough...
Things were making sense now.

A lot of sense.

We parked the car and headed through the trees.

Well this was not quite what we expected, but it looked like it might be worth a spin. Too bad we didn't have our bikes.

We finally arrived at Waimea Canyon, but we were unaware of what lay ahead...or should I say below. We stepped out of the car into the cool air. We followed the pathway to the sign (below) then headed up a few rocky steps which opened out to a "balcony" on the top. We walked to the edge and looked over.

There are no words or pictures to describe the beauty. It took our breath away. The vivid colors and untouched landscape—not to mention the immensity of the canyon—made me think of heaven itself.
There is a high risk of these canyons being stuffed with clouds, much to the disappointment of those who make the drive. But today, at this hour, the clouds floated above the canyons and parted slightly allowing sunlight to spill here and there.

To the upper right of the picture (above) you can see people standing on the "balcony" of the lookout.

This canyon, and its red lava beds is 12 miles long. It is said to have been caused by a large earthquake that sent existing streams flowing into a single river, which then carved the canyon. Mark Twain called it, "The Grand Canyon of the Pacific."

At the lookout I remember the people around me stood quietly, as if stunned. When they did talk, it was in a whisper. There was a feeling of reverence for this beautiful creation.

Coming up....The day we traveled to the North Shore (to snorkel) and found ourselves lured onto a treacherous trail.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Problems in Paradise

Under the azure skies and swaying coconut palms all is not well. There is an increasing drug problem among the youth. Not just marijuana, but also meth "ice" as they call it. Drugs find their way over on inter-island flights from Honolulu, which in turn come from Los Angeles and San Francisco. Marijuana "grows all over the island" according to the locals.

In the evenings, it is not uncommon to find young and old alike sitting at the beach drinking. It seems that most people, after being on the island for awhile, begin to take on a slower pace and develop an affinity for relaxing in this way.

Speaking of sitting at the beach, we had a nice time barbecuing steaks with some of the locals. Steve is playing some original music he wrote, laced with Hawaiian style praise to his creator. He has a great voice and the music was uniquely beautiful.

There are those who work, and many jobs are outside in the sun and humidity. Mozart and I noticed that our Mahi Mahi burgers, bought at a local food stand, were very salty. "Hawaiian food is known to be salty," says our friend Sheryl. "Most likely it evolved that way because people sweat a lot working in the humidity here."

Another problem is Hawaii's 50th anniversary of statehood celebration this year. Apparently not everyone is joining the party. Hawaiian sovereignty groups complain that the U.S. government forced the issue. They want to take their islands back. But most people are happy about statehood, saying that Hawaii would have been taken over by Japan or China, if the U.S. hadn't been there.

Back at the barbecue, the sun is slowly sinking.

I walked out toward the water to see the sunset.

Watching the water slap against the black rocks, I thought of Kauai's problems and felt compelled to pray. For the youth...for the churches...for God's touch on this island.

And then someone called out that sea turtles were feeding along the jetty.
Mozart grabbed his camera and managed to capture about 16 photos. This was more difficult than it sounds. One has to wait until the turtle comes up for a breath of air. And when you're standing in pitch darkness, leaning over the water, trying not to fall off the jetty—one can botch a shot. Below are the two that came out.

Coming soon: Road to Waimea Canyon and the dirt bikers...

Life on Kauai

When you live on an island, you have to flow with the breeze. When a crowing rooster wakes you up at 5:00 a.m. you either turnover and go back to sleep, or head to the beach with your surfboard to catch the early morning waves. Or you could, hop on your scooter in your slippers, sans helmet, and head to Starbuck's for a Carmel Maccioato. (yes, that scooter in the picture is moving!)

By the way, "slippers" are those flip-flops everyone wears to the beach. And it is a custom to leave your slippers at the door when entering a home.

Although food is expensive in Kauai, (cereal is $7.00 a box and a gallon of milk can be as high as $8.00) one never has to worry about starving. That's what our friend Steve said, one evening when he handed me a bag, grabbed a flashlight and stepped into the blackness of the backyard. Mozart and I followed him around feeling our way through the shrubs and around trees...stepping over plants...while Steve picked fruit. Steve would toss the fruit in my bag and miss. But by the end of the evening I had mangos, guava, grapefruit, one ripe tomatoe and a star fruit.

Mozart and I re-visited his backyard in the daylight. (below)

While Sheryl, Steve's wife, prepared dinner, a pork roast, green beans and a scrumptious salad, she told me about the various serving dishes and plates she inherited when they bought the house. Apparently someone had just left them. Which lead to the comment..."Nothing really leaves the island, you know. It has no place to go. So things just circulate...even the trash." She told some humorous stories about how the same items have turned up again in various homes, shops and rummage sales. on an island can have its idiosyncrasies.

Coming up next...a beach barbecue with the locals

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Our "Home" on Kauai

After five hour flight above the Pacific I was excited to spot an island. This is Molokai, one of the eight Hawaiian Islands which were formed from volcanoes erupting from the ocean floor. (That's the plane wing on the upper left)

Under each cloud cluster, below, is an island. To the left is Maui. On the upper right is Lanai, and on the lower right is Mulokai. In the distance near the top of the picture you can barely see the form of the big island of Hawaii.

We stayed on Kauai, often called the "garden island" and known as the wettest place on earth! We stayed on the South side in Poipu Beach, a great place to snorkle. That's our hotel, the Sheraton, in the distance on the point. We got a great deal on a room (and car) through the auto club, and we ended up in the back with a view of the parking lot.

Little did we know at the time, this would have advantages. For example, when you've had a long day of adventures and you climb out of your car carrying snorkles, masks, fins, beach bag, and Mahi Mahi burgers for dinner, you only have to walk a few steps to your room.

The best perk about the room was that we were actually close to the water. We stayed on the first floor of this buidling (3rd room from the left) and we could walk to the water's edge in seconds. I'm taking this picture from the water's edge.

We had a nice pool. We didn't take a dip until the last day.

The water slide looked fun. I watched 2 children on it for awhile, then finally decided to try it. It was a wet slick ride with a gentle WUMPH into the water. I went three times.

Next post...What is it like to live on Kauai? A beach barbecue with the locals.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Kauai Journal and Pictures

I'll be posting about the trip in the coming days/weeks.
Here is a short introductory post.

On a drive to the north side of the island we came upon this little church in Hanalei.

This is what was written about it...

Founded in 1834, it is one of the earliest stations of the Hawaiian Protestant Christian Mission to the islands and by God's grace, stands ready to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and is dedicated unto the glory of God.

The doors were open.

We left a prayer for our son on the inside.

Next post...a view of the islands from the sky and pictures of where we stayed on Kauai.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Live from Kauai

Today, Sunday, we went to church with our friends who live on the island. The church was a fairly large church in the Poipu beach area. People were friendly, and we enjoyed the rock and roll worship. There were about 100 in attendance.

Afterwards Mozart and I both took Steve's moped for a spin. There is a very large field--about 4 acres--at the end of the street. It was great fun, and I could see the ocean in the distance.

Later Mozart and I drove up to Wiamea Canyon. It was very beautiful! It was more than beautiful. It looked like the "high places"--like heaven. Two beautiful rivers flowed down the walls and along the canyon floor. The walls of the canyon were deep red, and the foilage a bright lime green. Late afternoon sunlight illuminated parts of the canyon.

Time to go...

(note: pictures will be posted in a future post)

Barbecue on the Beach Tonight

Tiki torches flicker and evening tradewinds blow across the keyboard. I'm sitting in an open air computer room. Our hotel is very nice, however, we haven't spent much time here. We've re-connected with an old friend who is a local in Kauai. Tonight everyone brought steaks and we barbecued on the beach. One or two other locals joined us, and soon many others stopped by. The steak was shared along with everything else. Steve brought his guitar. Soon someone else stopped by with another guitar. The winds blew, the waves crashed. Then the young began to arrive...along with Rap music. Later someone shouted that there were sea turtles feeding along the jetty. We watched their dark shadows in the water under the full moon. Mozart had fun trying to photograph them as they came up briefly for air.

(photos will appear in a later post)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Faraway Places

Carole and I are approaching the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. What is this? Lightposts! I've never seen so many in one place.

Our excitement is mounting as we near the Pompeii Exhibit.

There's Carole in the bright gold, coming in from the parking lot.

We are almost there.


Right through that door is ROME 79 A.D.

They wouldn't let us take pictures, so you will have to imagine the intriguing artifacts. We walked into a dining room painted with scenes from Greek mythology. (How did they ever move this from Italy?) The walls were red--with white angel-fairy-like creatures painted on them. There were several other smaller frescoes from the 1st century depicting Pompeii. The city was crowded with white washed villas right down to the sea.

Unfortunately I'm must cut my post short and Pompeii is not going to get the press it deserves.

We are leaving for our 30th wedding anniversary trip to the Island of Kauai early tomorrow morning, and I have last minute things to do. It's hard for me to believe that we are going on this trip, as my husband and I haven't been away together like this, for many years. I'm looking forward to doing some snorkeling, taking walks, NOT cooking dinner, being whipped by the tropical winds, and staring at the sky day and night...oh yes, and being with my husband...having him all to myself without all of life's interruptions.

I'll have a few pictures for you when I get back!


As Carole and I left the museum, we noticed the light posts glowing against the night sky.

It reminded us of what Jesus said.

"You are the light of the world."